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'Elegia' cover
Detail from the cover of 'Elegia,' Christopher Nichols' recording of Italian, French and American clarinet works spanning two centuries.

New recording of clarinet pieces

Christopher Nichols’ ‘Elegia’ features works spanning two centuries

Christopher Nichols, assistant professor of clarinet in the University of Delaware Department of Music, is an active soloist both nationally and internationally. He has been featured at conferences of the International Clarinet Association, European Clarinet Association and College Music Society.

In 2015, Nichols’ solo worked garnered him a Delaware Division of the Arts Established Artist Fellowship. As a dedicated educator as well as accomplished performer, his first thought was how he could use the award to create something instructional for the next generation of clarinetists.

The result is Elegia, a compilation of Italian, French and American clarinet works spanning two centuries, recently released on PARMA and Navona Records. Julie Nishimura, faculty accompanist at UD since 1988, collaborated with Nichols on Elegia, and adjunct faculty member Andreas Meyer recorded it in Gore Recital Hall in the Roselle Center for the Arts in June 2015.

“Active listening is part of developing musicality,” Nichols says. “Listening is just as important as practicing.”

He recalls that as a teenager he listened to more than 70 versions of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, looking for the subtle differences in phrasing, tone and rubato that made each rendition unique. He hopes that Elegia becomes a resource for clarinets by providing a professional model of three standard student pieces: Giuseppe Verdi’s Andante from La forza del destino; Ernesto Cavallini’s Adagio and Tarantell; and Henri Rabuad’s Solo de concours, Op. 10

The title track, Aurelio Magnani’s Elegia, was Nichols and Nishimura’s first collaboration together, which they performed at the 2013 Faculty Gala.

Nichols also selected Camille Saint-Saëns’ Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 167, a core piece of repertoire, as well as two American works for solo clarinet: the challenging John Cage Sonata for Clarinet and the premiere recording of Kevin J. Cope’s Sirocco. Cope, also a 2015 DDOA grant recipient, received his master of music in composition from UD.

Elegia is now available for streaming on Spotify and iTunes and on the Naxos library.

For more information and to hear http://navonarecords.com/epk/elegia/

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